In some cases, the best lessons in life come about through experiencing them firsthand; yet the knowledge we are able to glean from those who have traveled an identical road before us is priceless. If you’re providing care for a senior loved one with dementia and becoming a bit overwhelmed in this uncharted territory, the tips below can help:
- A short break can make all the difference. Whenever your senior loved one is struggling with difficult feelings, such as fear or anger, it’s best to temporarily stop whatever activity or task she is involved in, and allow a chance for a break. Change the situation by going into a new room or outside the house if the weather permits, play some favorite music, take a look at a scrapbook, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, you can attempt the task again, more often than not with considerably better results.
- Let go of rationalizing. Aiming to prove a point or win a quarrel is rarely effective when communicating with a person with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the person’s brain functioning is altered, and as long as no harm will be done, allow the senior loved one to maintain her own personal reality.
- Manage denial. Although it may be human nature to want to deny that there’s an issue, acknowledging the signs of dementia and pursuing medical help at the earliest opportunity is necessary to obtain the medical care and treatment needed.
- Check medications. The side effects of certain medications can actually cause additional confusion and cognitive difficulties. Come up with an in-depth list of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review together with the senior’s health care provider to confirm that the advantages outweigh any side effects.
- Take good care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are significant risks for family members taking care of someone with dementia. Ensure that you are making enough time for self-care, socialization, and hobbies which you enjoy. Understand that your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is in good health and refreshed.
- Be aware that life can be fulfilling with dementia. Although the person you love is going through some difficult changes, it’s essential to appreciate that life, while different, can still be meaningful and bring happiness in spite of the disease. Explore various kinds of experiences for the senior to improve socialization, boost memory and cognitive functioning, and remain physically active.
Atlanta Home Care Partners is always here to provide the support you need to make sure your family member with dementia is able to live life to the fullest. Contact us online or give us a call at (404) 228-0103 for more information regarding our highly specialized Atlanta Alzheimer’s care for seniors.